The end of another year is upon us with Christmas just a few days away so I thought we should look at some rather seasonal geese themes to conclude our series on Islay geese.
Firstly the Lesser Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens caerulescens ) which is a rare vagrant occasionally seen on Islay. They can be found mixed with flocks of wintering Greenland Whitefront and Barnacle geese feeding on grassland. There are some feral birds on the mainland of Scotland which may also visit Islay. The wild birds breed in arctic Canada, and north west Greenland. It is here that they can mix with the Barnacle and Whitefronts and join them on their migration to Islay in the autumn.
Snow Geese mate for life. Their nests in their arctic breeding grounds are shallow depressions lined with grass, stems, and down, in which they lay 3 to 8 eggs. The young leave the nest shortly after hatching, but stay with their parents until the following spring. They feed primarily on shallow water aquatic plants, grasses and grain. Outside of the nesting season, they usually feed in flocks. The Snow geese have wingspan averaging between 53 and 56 inches. On migration from their Arctic breeding grounds they fly in long curved U-shaped lines as high as 1000 feet. When you are out goose watching on Islay look out for the Snow Goose, you never know you maybe lucky enough to find one of these rare vagrants!
On a seasonal note after all this energetic goose watching out in the cold its time to retreat home by the fire for a traditional roast goose Christmas dinner! To help you cook your traditional roast goose Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage provides his favourite Christmas Goose recipe and Gordon Ramsay shows you how to cook the chefsâ€™ choice of Christmas main courses â€“ a golden goose - ENJOY!!
May I take this opportunity to wish all the readers of the Islay Info weblog a very happy and enjoyable Christmas.
Teresa Morris, Islay Wildscapes